You may never really feel like your old self again

It's often hard for outsiders to understand what it's like to live with a brain injury. Unlike a broken arm or leg, a brain injury may have no exterior evidence. Symptoms vary from one person to the next. A person may look "fine" to everyone else, while dealing with serious daily issues stemming from the injury.

The brain is also very fragile. A simple car accident can easily lead to damage that takes years to heal -- or that never heals completely. The one second in which someone else runs a red light can change your life forever.

To better understand what this looks like, here are a few ways brain injury survivors note that their lives have changed:

Personalities can change after a brain injury. Loved ones often feel like the injured person never "changes" back. This is true even when it looks like physical healing has finished.

Fatigue is very common

People feel tired, worn down and exhausted. This happens even after simple physical tasks, and it can happen when a person hasn't done anything taxing at all. Family members need to understand this change and how it can impact daily life.

Social interaction often feels overwhelming

A party doesn't feel fun, but chaotic. Getting a job doesn't look like an opportunity, but a confusing hassle. Even just going out with friends can lead to sensory overload. When the brain does not process information as well as it used to, social interaction can be taxing and overwhelming. Someone living with an injury may avoid as many social situations as possible; family members should not take this personally.

Behavior issues stem from feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated

People with brain injuries sometimes struggle with anger and frustration. They'll lash out. They'll tell others to stop talking in the middle of sentences. They'll leave the room during an argument. Often, all of these issues stem from the fact that the person feels mentally exhausted and overwhelmed, and taking a break is wise.

Memories may not stick

The person may have no memory of the serious car accident that resulted in a brain injury, but the memory issues can extend beyond that. New memories may not stick. Other people may have to repeat themselves often. Patience is absolutely the key at every turn. Some memory issues even extend to things most people consider second nature, like remembering how to get home from the store or remembering one's own phone number.

Life changes

As you can see, a brain injury can change life forever. It's critical for those who suffer these injuries to know all of their legal options, especially when they can't work and they need lasting care and assistance.

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